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Author Topic:   Trailer-launch and retrieve
wmeier posted 09-15-2008 05:44 PM ET (US)   Profile for wmeier   Send Email to wmeier  
This past weekend was my first time that I used my trailer for the Outrage 190 that I purchased earlier this year. The past summer I keep the boat at the marina on the racks so I didn't need the trailer. Well to say the least my first time retrieving the boat was quite the experience. It was low tide and had to back the trailer as far back as I could. The rear wheels of the trailer were about 3/4 covered. The back wheels of the chevy truck were off the concrete slab and sitting on the wood ties. This was about far back I could go. I tried to follow the video I saw on the trailer boat website showing the whalers being powered up onto the bunk of the trailer. To say the least my experience was not anything like the video. I manage to get the boat about 1/3 of the way up on the bunk. The dock master told me that I would have hand crank the rest in. I felt the pressure to move it along as the two old men waiting to get their boat out behind me and watching this newbie with critical eyes. I swear that I was going to have a heart attack hand cranking it in. (not too good for a person with high blood pressure). I got the boat on board he bunks and secured. Thank god that I convince my wife that the Honda Odessy was not the right car to tow. Once again the dock master came out to give me his 2 cents of advice to put the truck in 4 wheel drive and low gear. With a little extra gas I manage to safely get the boat out and home. But what an experience.

I would really appreciate the old salts 2 cents on how to make this process a little easier. I was thinking that perhaps that the trailer need to be modified with some rollars or something to make the bunks a little more easier to glide along.

highanddry posted 09-15-2008 06:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for highanddry  Send Email to highanddry     
I back down until just the top of the fenders are above water and then I drive it on. I usually finish cranking it the last little bit by hand. Launching I put the boat in at least with the fenders 2/3s under and just rock it off. The Outrage 190 has a deep hull and sits high on the trailer as a result, shallow ramps can be a challenge.
Diver Dan posted 09-15-2008 07:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Diver Dan  Send Email to Diver Dan     
Using Liquid Rollers on the trailer bunks makes a tremendous difference in the ease retreiving the boat.
Care must be taken when launching as the bunks will be slick enough to allow the boat to almost launch itself.
Another alternative is to install a 12v electric winch. A whole lote easier than hand-cranking, especially as one gets older!
davej14 posted 09-15-2008 08:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for davej14  Send Email to davej14     
It sounds like you picked a very challenging ramp for your first launch. Still, you had a successful retrieve and should be pretty proud of your accomplishment. The LAST thing you want to worry about is rushing the process because of your concern for the back up at the ramp. This leads to mistakes and boat damage or injury. Next time you may want to practice at a less popular ramp. There is plenty of advice on this site if you do a local search.

If you are going to launch at this ramp on a routine basis, investment in a power winch or a longer trailer tongue may be something to consider.

Chuck Tribolet posted 09-15-2008 08:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
4WD is handy for backing down too. In compound low, everything
happens in slow motion.

I use silicone spray on the bunks a couple of times per year.

Pick your ramps and tides.


Feejer posted 09-15-2008 08:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for Feejer  Send Email to Feejer     
Bunk Slicks Rock

boatdryver posted 09-16-2008 12:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for boatdryver  Send Email to boatdryver     


Kencvit posted 09-16-2008 01:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for Kencvit  Send Email to Kencvit     
Trailering the nantucket made easier....
First thing I did was get a set of Guide-On`s for the trailer which help you come on straight and hold you there, this is particularily helpful in a river where there is current or on real steep ramps.
The secret to cranking the boat up the bunks if you can`t get deep enough is to wet them .I usually back down until the bunks are submerged then pull out until they are about 1 ft or less showing then drive on . If you can`t submerge them wet the bunks with a hose or pail of water.
Once loaded the first thing(this is very important) I do is connect the safety chain from the trailer to the bow eye. Do not rely on the winch strap to hold the boat as if its not engaged you could lose the boat as you pull up the ramp as the bunks and boat are wet and maybe the hull has some slime so it will slide off real easy going up a steep or bumpy ramp.There are all kind of pictures and video`s on the internet of this happening.
Remember to tilt the motor up.
When launching the last thing I do is take off the safety chain when I have the boat partly in the water.I also usually start the motor while the boat is still on the trailer in the make sure it starts. If you float off and there`s no courtesy dock beside the ramp...then your paddling back to the trailer or throwing a line to somebody to help you....thats embarrassing.
Always keep you windows rolled down on your tow vehicle...this is partly for safety in case your vehicle slides into the water and you have to escape, partly to improve visibility in your mirrors,partly to help hear directions if someone is guiding you but mostly to prevent you from locking your keys in a running vehicle on the ramp...a major embarrassment!
Once your off the ramp , remember to secure everything and make sure the all cushions are snapped in as they will blow out.
In addition to the two rear tie down straps I put one of these straps at the front from the bow eye down to the trailer which pulls the bow down snug and keeps it from bouncing.
For the most part I am by myself loading and unloading and I prefer this unless I have someone helping that is familiar with these procedures. Review signals and procedures with your crew before you start otherwise they become a liability and another thing for you to look out for.
Never let someone ride standing on the hitch or trailer when you launch or pull out.
At a shallow ramp, with the high riding nantucket trailer expect to have your vehicle in the water so put your rubber boots on before you get started.
As many have said here...never let yourself be rushed .For better or worse theres always somebody yelling out comments at the ramps...I stick to my procedure (many components of which I must say I `ve learned from searching articles here) and I`ve always been fine.

gorji posted 09-16-2008 06:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for gorji  Send Email to gorji     
Here is another piece of advice:

1. If possible have a friend with more experience help you
2. Go to the ramp without your boat; sit down with a drink and watch people launch and retrieve. Go on a busy day; you'll see lot of booboos as well as some expert lauch/retrievals. You'll see that you did well but you'll pick up many pointers from other people's action.

Have fun.

boatdryver posted 09-16-2008 10:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for boatdryver  Send Email to boatdryver     
wmeier, all the above posts offer good tips to smooth out your future launching and retrieval. If I may, I'll offer a summary:

1. Don't expect to get it perfect the first time. With experience you'll arrive at a routine that suits your local ramps and tow vehicle.

2. It sounds like your main problem was the low tide. With the the crappy ramp I use, I don't even think of launching or retrieving until I check the tide tables

3. Oh, if only all ramps were nice and steep and fully paved!. But they aren't. I'd rather drive an extra 10 miles to one that is, rather than use one like you describe.

4. If you are alone and having trouble and there are guys waiting and staring, ask them to help. They usually will be glad to lend a hand because they will have had the same trouble themselves before.

Good luck


wmeier posted 09-16-2008 12:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for wmeier  Send Email to wmeier     
Thanks all the suggestions. I'm sure that I'll get better with practise but still a challange the 1st time. Two items that I find interesting was the electric winch and the spray or bunk gluides. I think that was most difficult part was trying to hand crank up the boat...boy i'm out of shape! I plan to use the boat a lot next year keeping the boat on the trailer. I would be interested in recomendations for the outrage 190 (Karavan Aluminum trailer) for winches.

Also, I bought a transom saver that hooked up but felt that the engine was still very close to the road? I guess it was okay because we made it home without scraping the bottom of the I also bought two 4ft tie down straps for the transmon..they were okay but it appears that the paddle wheel was right in the way. Thinking of buying a long tie down and going over the top versus the 2 transom tie downs.

wood duck posted 09-16-2008 01:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for wood duck  Send Email to wood duck     
Regarding a transom saver, I have used a my-wedge on both a 135 Verado and a 200 Verado. The unit is made to fit the individual motor make and model. It is easy to install and remove and provides ample motor clearance and transom relief. Go to to check it out. Regarding an electric winch, you don't need it,just keep practicing and it will become easier for you. I do not compete in the Ironman but launch and retieve a 205 Conquest by myself at several differnt ramps under all different conditions,depths, grades, etc. Just take your time and keep practicing.
Feejer posted 09-16-2008 02:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Feejer  Send Email to Feejer     
I second the my-wedge. My 170 is the second boat I've used it on. It can't get any more simple. Lift up the engine, pop the my-wedge on, let engine down.
sapple posted 09-16-2008 03:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for sapple  Send Email to sapple     
Another bit of advice:

The moment after you shut off your engine, raise the engine and shut off your electronics before you do anythig else, get distracted, and forget. You may be sorry later if you forget to do either.

I have had close calls on both, but fortunately, not a disaster yet.

David Pendleton posted 09-16-2008 03:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
I use ordinary silicone spray on my bunks; once every two or three launches.

My boat weighs more than 4700# and I launch and retrieve it singlehandedly all the time. I do not powerload.

When backing the trailer in the water, both axles of my trailer are submerged. My trailer has a "sweet spot" where I can get the hull just far enough to be centered on the bunks and close enough to the winch where I only have to retrieve 8 feet of so of cable.

Alot of this depends on the ramp, also. Ramp angle, condition, construction material, and type of bottom all add to the fun.

You'll get the hang of it. Don't be afraid to experiment.

Unless the ramp is busy, that is.

Casco Bay Outrage posted 09-16-2008 04:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for Casco Bay Outrage  Send Email to Casco Bay Outrage     
..the rear wheels of the trailer were about 3/4 covered. The back wheels of the chevy truck were off the concrete slab and sitting on the wood ties. This was about far back I could go"

My general opinion of factory supplied trailers are the tongue is always too short. With a shallow ramp, you need a longer tongue. An easy DIY project.

Chuck T - have a link to a photo to your trailer?

If anything it keeps the tow vehicle out of the water.


andygere posted 09-16-2008 04:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Lots of good suggestions here, and I'll add another.

I don't much care for electric winches. They are balky, require a cable instead of a strap, and are just one more piece of gear to go bad from corroded electrical components. I do like 2-speed manual winches. These allow you to select a much lower retrieve rate, which means the cranking is much easier when you are winching the boat most of the way on. Often the OEM supplied winches are wimpy and just barely stout enough to begin with, so for less than $150, you can take it easy on your back and retrieve that boat with ease.

highanddry posted 09-16-2008 06:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for highanddry  Send Email to highanddry     
The fenders I refer to are those on my trailer, not on my vehicle. Yes,4WD is a blessing. The Tacoma has anti hill roll backwhich holds position in 4WD or 2WD but in 4WD of course even slippery ramps are easy no matter how steep. On one steep, moss covered ramp even in 4WD the traction control kicked in, holding the pedal down easily pulled the trailer and boat to safety. It is hard to imagine some people live without 4WD.

The factory trailer has a swing away tongue and brakes so any extension would have to take that into account.

contender posted 09-16-2008 08:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
Andygere: You really need to see my electric winch. I mounted a 1953 Ford starter on a two speed winch. One side of the winch has a 12 inch V pulley wheel, the other side is made to still use the winch handle. I then rigged my truck with two welding cable outlets on the rear bumper,(Have a long big set of jumper cables I can use from here also) I just need a one positive cable to the starter, the ball and hitch is the ground. I have rigged a push button on the trailer below the winch and also has a plug in remote button. Got the stater for free, friend welded two ears on the starter for free (For mounting) had to buy the fan belt and 12 inch wheel, two buttons and an electric box mounted to hold the switch, and a little wire..maybe 50 bucks at the time and now it 19 years old and works great. The hardest part is making my wife hook the cable to the bow eye...on the trailer with no strain no pain
Chuck Tribolet posted 09-16-2008 11:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
CBO: there's three pictures towards the bottom of


andygere posted 09-17-2008 04:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Contender, sounds like a good solution, but definitely not off-the-shelf. I've seen enough people at the ramp cussin' and fussin' with electric winches to know that I want no part of one. The two-speed manual winch I put on my Outrage trailer had a stainless cable. I used it exactly one time before tearing it off and installing a webbing strap. Cables are just about guaranteed to bind, usually at the most inopportune time. This one did it on the first try.
highanddry posted 09-17-2008 06:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for highanddry  Send Email to highanddry     
The Outrage 190 is a heavy little rig but come on now, it is not a 27 footer here. You don't need an electric winch on a 19 foot boat. It is a big deal just to keep my lights working in saltwater much less an electric winch!

You should be able to drive the boat on but for the most shallow/gentle ramps. In those you will have to winch away I suppose.

JMARTIN posted 09-17-2008 07:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for JMARTIN  Send Email to JMARTIN     
I would not be able to retrieve with out my 19 year old electric winch. It is a really steep and short ramp. Maybe at high tide, but I would be burying the trailer in the salt water. I also have a much heavier boat. John
contender posted 09-17-2008 08:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
Andygere: No you are right my winch is not off the shelf, and stainless cable is a no no but I guess you learn that, You need to use galvanized cable. The motor on an electric winch is the problem, They sell you this big red box to mount on your trailer and when you remove the cover the motor is no bigger than a rule bilge pump. However, I know what you are talking about seen it many times at the ramp were the electric winch dies, and now the hand crank comes out (what a joke cause now you are turning against the motor and trying to pull the boat up the same time) I would also carry an extra strap with your winch seen them break before, and seen some bind so tight you had to cut them to get it apart. Best hand crank winch I have found is from Shelby Industries, USA made and I think its out of Kentucky. I think they even make a three speed, Parts are easy to get and its a very well made. Try to find one a check it out...good luck
wmeier posted 09-22-2008 02:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for wmeier  Send Email to wmeier     
Well we launch and retrieved the Outrage 190 again this weekend with much better results. First, I have the aluminum trailer with the guide on. The disadvantage I think is that the aluminum trailer has larger tires and thus sits higher off the ground.

Our launch still needs improvement. I back down to the water edge, trailer tires about 3/4 covered, but could not get the boat to float off the trailer. With great hestitation I back down another few feet till the wheel of the truck got wet. The tires of the trailer were completely covered. It still took some effort to get the boat off. I will be buying some silcone spray or glides as some suggested to make life easier.

Our retrieve was also much better this time. Taking a hint from our launch I back down the truck till the rear wheels were in the water(just touchging the bottom of the rubber) and the trailer tires were completely submerged.
I lined up the boat and got her this time about 3/4 of the way up on the bunk (powered up). This time it was also closer to high tide. Still needed to hand crank up the last few feet...but this time I wised up and got my 12 year
son on the crank(no need for hero's).

I also purchased a M-y wedge which came in the mail the day before. Absolutely 1000pct better then the transom saver that I bought 2 week before. The engine cleared the ground with plently of safety. Only thing is that the outrage 90 has two rams. I should have bought 2...but assume that they would sell it that way ..but they didn't. No sweat...the one should be enough...but two would be better.

Too bad that whaler doesn't include more support and advice for their trailers that they supply. You would think that they would sell the units with tie down straps, engine/transom supports, and some advice on launch and haul.

I saw their video on the net...surely they have choiced picked their ramps and done some modification to get their boat to launch and retrieve with such ease.

contender posted 09-22-2008 03:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
Wemier. How are your springs on the trailer, are they on top of the axle or on the bottom, if they are mounted on top can turn the axle upside down and place the springs on the bottom and this will give you a couple more inches, does not sound like a lot but 3-4 inches could keep your truck out of the water. Also a lot depends on the angle of the ramp, if it is shallow you are going to have to back down a lot. Another thought how high are your bunks, could cut them down and have your boat closer to the water on the ramp/launch...good luck
RonB posted 09-22-2008 09:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for RonB  Send Email to RonB     
My launch and retrieve experiences with my 190 Outrage are similar to highanddry's post. The trailer fenders are almost submerged, not quite.

I launch and retrieve by myself and I have a floating dock next to the ramp, so I do the following (after removing my single My-Wedge (one will do just fine):

1. I tie a tight line from the bow to the stern cleat along the outside of the boat along the gunwale facing the floating dock. I put my bumpers out too, and take the trailer stern tie down straps off.

2. I then tie a bowline (a non-binding loop) with another feedline at the bow about 30 feet long around the line that runs down the length of the boat.

3. After I release the boat from the front of the trailer I rock her off and push her into the river, paying out the feedline as she goes. I then, with line in hand, step off the trailer tongue, walk over to the floating dock and pull the Outrage to the dock. The loop allows the line to slide down to amidships, so she comes sideways to the dock.

4. I tie her up, lower the Verado, and put my truck away. By the time I'm back, the oil in the Verado has settled, and I start her up.

A note about slick ramps, I keep a piece of 4x4 wood on the front seat with me in my truck (02 Tundra). I have a habit of putting it under my front wheel of my Tundra whenever I exit the cab and am working on the trailer behind the truck. Just remember to retrieve it so you don't hit it with your rear tire when pulling the trailer back out of the water.

Don't worry about mistakes, take your time, I was once distracted by a 'pretty thing' and her husband chatting with me and my wife and I backed the boat into the river with the trailer stern tie downs still attached. When I saw what appeared to be a floating trailer and water coming over the stern, I quickly pulled her back out. Quickly looking around to make sure no one saw what I had just done, I heard about a dozen oldtimers chuckling a short distance away. I laughed too...but NEVER did that again! Good luck.


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